The execution of a Shiite cleric in Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has laid bare the divisions now gripping the Middle East, as protesters set fire Sunday to the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and demonstrators took to the streets from Bahrain to Pakistan.

The mass execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 others, the largest carried out by Saudi Arabia in three and a half decades, illustrates the kingdom’s new aggressiveness under King Salman.

Under his reign, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen and staunchly opposed regional Shiite power Iran, even as Tehran struck a nuclear deal with world powers.

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